Well, here we are at Lashio for another ATWC Six leg:
Something slightly different, this time - a 375 nm flight with 20 waypoints and all in VFR. You are joking, I hear you say? Well, suspend your disbelief for a couple of minutes...
First, we go back in time - to Burmah in 1943. The Allies are having a hard time getting supplies through to Chiang Kai-shek. The Ledo (Assam) to Kunming land route is too long and a shorter route, from the railhead at Lashio, is being reconnoitered. This is where we come in. Instead of flying from Lashio to Kunming over the high plateaux, called The Hump, our job is to fly along the proposed route and determine its feasibility, and the route looks something like this, in Plan-G (Thanks, Tim!):
There are no, repeat NO, nav aids between VYLS and ZPPP - well, not in 1943, anyway. But we have got some old, colonial vintage, relief maps, which show the topology and some of the roads. The back-room boys have laid out a plan for the proposed route in 4 sections - from Lashio to Mangka:
Section 2 - from Mangka to Xingfu:
Section 3 - from Xingfu, across the Lancang Jiang (or Mekong) river up to the Ledo-Kunming road at Chuxiong:
Section 4- the final stretch to Kunmimg:
Although the flight is for reconnaisance, we're taking some supplies with us. Here we are loading the faithful DC-3 up:
Taxi-ing past the Lashio Base hospital:
It's a warm afternoon - the morning's rains are over, as we take off from runway 19:
Turning north, we fly past the base...
... and pick up the road towards Thienni:
After the turn at Hseni (Thienni), we head east, up the wide valley:
Although the road on the proposed route looks in good shape, it's very close to those cliffs:
And there are some very steep climbs, towards Mangka:
Some low cloud hides the road - but it soon clears:
Just after Xingfu, there's been a mud slide and the road is impassable:
We've been climbing all the way from Xingfu - this terrain before Juzishan, is 7500':
And that's the Lancang Jiang gorge ahead. The gorge sides are steep and there's no road - at the moment. A problem for the engineers!
The river Lancang Jiang becomes the Mekong, when it reaches Laos:
Looks like the engineers have already begun blasting this stretch to Midu:
Another high pass - but the road looks good:
The sun's going down as we approach the Xiang Yung turn:
The navigator's says there's a new base around here - just north of the road:
Here it is - Yungan-Ni camp:
Time for a quick cuppa and a chat with the locals:
And we're off, again:
That's Chuxiong - just the last section to go:
Over Anning Town, the land starts to rise, again:
Over the last ridge, and that's Dianchi Pool ahead with Kunming beyond:
Turning north over the pool:
Long Final at Kunming:
An easy landing on runway 03:
And that's it:
Just need to get the camera films to the lab and we're off for cool drink in the mess...
And, that's it, Folks! The Burmah-China mesh was made by "Roger-Wilco-66" from Sim-Outhouse and is available here:
The DC-3/C47 is by Manfred Jahn - search for "Douglas C-47 Skytrain Exterior Base Pack 1.0"
Thanks for joining me - I hope you didn't find the flight too fatiguing! Flying without nav aids is certainly not boring, especially
keeping close to the ground to follow the road.
Cheers - Dai.